The other night we had tea with Dr. D., which is tea time with Dre and the girls on the team.

Dre is one of the deepest thinkers I’ve met in a long, long time. And he has also had such a different life than most of the others on the team. He’s seen a lot, and been a lot. I absolutely love him. He is going to teach me so much about life, I can already feel it. We’re going to learn a lot together.

At tea time the other night though, he brought up the Michael Brown case. He started it out by phrasing it,  He told us a lot about his experiences growing up as a black man, and how he has never felt like an equal in this country.

Different lives, all learning from one another. All sharing experiences that we’ve only read about in books. One person’s struggle becomes a people’s struggle when we share it.

We need to share more. We need to realize that people care. They just don’t always get the chance to listen. Or they never learn how to listen.

I am amazed at the people here.

I am so lucky to get to learn from them this year.

They world is a crazy place, and I’m in the middle of it attempting to navigate just like my brothers and sisters here.

Yesterday was amazing.

Had Thanksgiving with five other teams- there were about fifty of us there. Everyone made a Thanksgiving dish ( I made black beans- the only dish that was not cheesy and brown).

We all stuffed ourselves, and then everyone gathered around Jess, Dre and I as the quiet ones casually had the most outrageous conversations.

Then we sat outside in the rain with a few people from other teams, and then decided to go running in the pouring rain. Four of us ran arm in arm out into the Oregon woods on a trail in the pitch black darkness. The way back was easy as the lit up cabin was always in sight, but it was all a bit of an adrenaline rush. We had so much fun, and came back drenched head to toe. After that we jumped in the hot showers, our first really hot showers since being in Oregon, and then went back in the cabin for desert.

I ended up sitting down somewhat alone, and the sweetest guy ever comes over and starts asking me about my life. He’s the other Kansan in Oregon- he’s a huge KU fan, and super progressive. He majored in international journalism in college, and we start talking about international reporting. He asks me if I could go anywhere right now, where would I go. I said Morocco, he started speaking and writing in Arabic. Then he said he’d go to Lebanon. I said, let’s be friends.

The people here are amazing and insanely adventurously spirited. I love it. We’re all on the same page in that we don’t know what we’re doing with our lives, but what we do know is that we want to experience it all. And that worldview is starting to look less and less like we don’t have our shit together, and more and more like we’re headed for a bad ass life of experiencing life to its fullest. x

Saw my friend Adam last night as well, he’s from New Mexico. Had a bonding moment long ago over my zia. He’s got the best smile I’ve ever seen.

Hung out with Megan a lot as well. She’s staying with a team in Silverton. They’re at a resort, with spas and hot tubs every night. We’re meeting up next weekend. She’s pretty crazy cool, really unpredictable.

Some really fun other interactions, and just an overwhelming feeling that I can do this. And that we all can do this. And we’re all doing it together. This life thing. All together, and all apart.

Most of the day was spent playing cards and wandering around waiting for dinner to be done. It was like an awkward extended family gathering, where you only know half of the people there. I realized that it isn’t family gatherings that are awkward- it’s me. It doesn’t matter what group of people it is- I will always feel socially anxious when I am expected to interact.

Proud of myself for only running away for an hour or so. I am changing in the way I interact with people, changing exponentially since I’ve been here. I penned some poems and listened to some good jams in an isolated, abandoned cabin.

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